90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Florida Crime Fiction And The New Face Of America

This program is rebroadcast from June 13, 2013.

The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik joins us on the seedy, wacky face of Sunshine State crime fiction.

The Miami skyline as seen from Miami Beach. (Stefano Giudici/Flickr)

The Miami skyline as seen from Miami Beach. (Stefano Giudici/Flickr)

Once upon a time, Los Angeles was the American capital of crime fiction, of our dark, moody, noir tales of guns, detectives, blackmail, sleaze, fighting corruption. Think Raymond Chandler. “The Big Sleep.” “Chinatown.” America wrestling with the dark side of Tinsel Town. Now, says my guest, Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker, our crime fiction capital is Florida — the Sunshine State and the state of the fiction, the crime, is something else. Wacky, seedy, random. And corruption is just presumed. This hour On Point: Adam Gopnik on America now and the rise of Florida crime fiction.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Adam Gopnik, writer for the New Yorker who recently wrote about Florida crime fiction in “In The Back Cabana.” (@adamgopnik)

Oline Cogdill, mystery fiction reviewer who blogs at Mystery Scene. (@OlineCogdill)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker: In The Back Cabana: The Rise And Rise Of Florida Crime Fiction – “But another line of crime fiction, at the other peninsular end of the country, may have supplanted the L.A.-noir tradition as a paperback mirror of American manners — the fiction of Florida glare. In this genre, as Dave Barry, a late-arriving practitioner, puts it, a bunch of ‘South Florida wackos’ — all heavily armed, all loquacious, all barely aware of one another’s existence — blunder through petty crime, discover themselves engaged in actual murder, and then move in unconscious unison toward the black comedy of a violent climax. This line begins in John D. MacDonald’s color-coded’ books (‘The Dreadful Lemon Sky,’ ‘Free Fall in Crimson’), of the sixties and seventies; moves through Elmore Leonard’s talky, episodic Florida novels of the eighties; engages Barry as a comic outlier; and eventually leads to Carl Hiaasen, the Miami newspaperman who has, for the past few decades, written a new crime novel practically every two years.”

Mystery Scene: Florida Bound? Read A Mystery — “Florida has a rich history of mystery fiction and here are some authors that will show you the intricacies of the Sunshine State…Here are some novels to get you going, whether you listen to them as an audio book or read them.”

Reuters: America Noir: The Biggest ‘Gate’ Of All — “Metaphors function much like art, and you might consider Watergate not as a scandal but as a gigantic movie. Not just any movie blockbuster, either, but as America’s epic noir. Film noir was a genre that began in the late 1940s, when America was forced to confront the darkness within itself after World War II. ‘Film noir’ translates into ‘black film,’ and the noir movies of the time were literally and figuratively dark. They involved corruption, deceit, amorality and the potential rot of the American soul — capturing the anxiety of the Cold War era.”

Tweets From During The Show

Playlist

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 23, 2014
Cindy Cook holds a photo of her mother, former Rep. Alice Cook Bassett, at her home in Calais, Vt., Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Cook took care of her mother in December when she decided to stop eating and drinking to put an end to her life. (AP)

A bipartisan report says medical care at the end of life needs a big overhaul. One bioethicist says, “After 75, no major interventions. Let me go.”

Sep 23, 2014
Fabiano Caruana, of Italy, was the winner of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, MO. His seven straight wins in the tournament are virtually unprecedented in the history of the game. (Courtesy US Chess Champs)

A young grandmaster just did the impossible at a top chess tournament. No one paid attention. Does chess still matter?

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 22, 2014
Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People's Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP/Jason DeCrow)

Big climate protests in New York before a big UN summit. Activist and author Naomi Klein says change the economy or die. She’s with us.

 
Sep 22, 2014
President Barack Obama gestures during a statement in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Washington. Obama spoke after Congress voted to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State group. (AP/Evan Vucci)

A tough, critical examination of US plans to take on ISIS. Strategy in the hot seat.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 19, 2014
Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Lots of big, contentious topics on the show this week — from Zionism to early education, corporal punishment to development in the Grand Canyon.

More »
Comment
 
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

More »
5 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment